The interior of Whisper was entirely designed by my wife Jan McDermott of Walnut Designs in Pangbourne, Berkshire. Walnut Designs is an established interior design and decorating company which has been operating for over 30 years in the Thames Valley. Jan now works by appointment only, from Access Studio 1500, 62 Portman Road, Reading. Originally specialising in house interior design and soft furnishings she has now added boat interiors to her repertoire, and as well as Whisper has provided consulting services and soft furnishings to boat builders, shared ownership schemes and private boat owners.
The design goal with Whisper was to create a light airy feel to the interior to counteract the necessarily cramped dimensions of a narrowboat, especially width-wise where an internal dimension of approximately 6' 6" is the absolute maximum. This involved the selection of light woods for the panelled walls and ceilings (Light Beech and Light Oak) and trims (Ash), light wall tiles for the shower, splash-backs etc, as well as a strategically placed full length mirror in the bathroom. The light woods and tiles would be offset by black trims, black Hi-Fi speakers and electrical equipment, a black wood-burning stove, a predominately black in-laid galley work-top and black curtain rods and rails.
The positioning of windows, portholes and Houdini (roof) hatches was carefully thought about at the hull design stage and a full lighting plan was developed subsequently to complement the hull openings and provide the fitters with an unambiguous plan to work to.
Soft furnishings were kept to a minimum to complement the simple, clean lines of the interior fit-out, but where necessary they were specified in high quality and hard wearing fabrics with colours sympathetic to the overall design, reflecting the light colours of the woods and the black highlights of curtain rods and rails, worktops and furniture.
Flooring was chosen to be hard-wearing and practical, whilst toning in with the overall wood effect of the interior. The saloon and galley areas are in Amtico light beech planking with a black inlaid strip, laid diagonally to create the impression of a wider saloon area. From the utility area rearwards the planking is laid longitudinally, without the black strip, for contrast (the diagonal planking effect can just be seen in the pictures above and right).
The exterior paintwork of Whisper was chosen to complement the interior (or vice versa depending on your point of view!) - predominately black but with a cream roof and coachlines, offset by an excellent scumbled (wood effect) frame along the cabin sides and scumbled planking to the rear cabin roof. The original signwriting, coachlines and scumbling were all undertaken by Andy Russell of Poynton in Cheshire, and we have no hesitation in recommending his work.
In 2007, Whisper was expertly re-painted at Reading Marine, Aldermaston, where Andy Russell again worked his magic with the scumbling and Tim Bird made a superb job of the signwriting.